When it comes to our myriad national issues, a bit of foreign perspective can be clarifying. Take British commentator Nile Gardiner’s recent piece at the Telegraph Blog. Gardiner sets his sights – and, one presumes, his charming accent – on economist, New York Times columnist, and deserving target Paul Krugman:
Krugman and US liberal elites remain firmly in denial on the debt question, stuck in a time warp even as most of the free world has moved on. If this crisis is not caused by borrowing that markets find unsustainable, then what is it caused by?
Their foolhardy solutions for the European economic crisis as well as their prescriptions for America’s financial mess – more government spending and of course borrowing – simply beggar belief.
Shepherded by Krugman and his wrongheaded colleagues, U.S. policymakers conspire to rob us of more and more of our economic freedom – all in the name of Keynesianism, a theory seemingly designed to provide cover for fiscal recklessness.
Other nations have avoided our mistakes. Liberalization efforts have increased economic freedom across the globe, from Hong Kong to New Zealand to Chile. Even parts of Europe are beginning to look more hospitable to business than the U.S., which slips a little lower on the Economic Freedom Index every year.
Recall that taxpayer-funded EV boondoggle Fisker Automotive decided to build cars in Finland, a nation long held up by the left as a model of social democracy done right. And while Boeing has been attacked by the National Labor Relations Board for trying to hire new, non-union employees, welfare-happy Denmark has made it easy to fire bad workers: their labor flexibility is now a major international selling point.
Yet Americans cling to the idea of capitalism even as America continues down the road to statism. We insist we live in a fundamentally capitalistic nation even as bank bailouts and green subsidy scandals lay bare Washington’s endemic cronyism. Our politicians make liberal use capitalistic rhetoric to justify destructive interventionism (“I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system“). When it all goes wrong, is it any wonder that capitalism gets the blame?
The first step towards recovery is admitting that one has a problem. America needs to stop fretting about becoming Europe and recognize that, when it comes to unsustainable spending, sky-high debt, and destructive regulation, we already are Europe. In some respects, we’re actually worse.
Economic freedom is not the cause of our woes: we haven’t had economic freedom for years. The sooner we can acknowledge that truth, the sooner we can begin working towards real prosperity.